I thought I knew the way.
But all the streets look the same. No difference between a square and a street, a bridge and a tunnel, everything became leveled with the ground.
This city which was torn apart, its citadels, buildings and bridges brought down to rubble. In this city, the rich became poor, the healthy became ill and the children became old.
This city which is considered one of the first humans settlements, they built its citadels and farmed its land. This land on which the very first human civilization flourished with the discovery of agriculture.
In this city, I grew up.
But I can’t recognized it today.
I lost hope, so I asked one of the Free Syrian Army soldiers standing in a checkpoint the way home.
He asked me who I would be, I replied that I used to live here and showed him my ID. He pointed the way home.
Or what used to be my home.
The street is full of debris of the destroyed buildings. Here my grandfather’s shop stood. There, I played with my friends football. My father used to sit in that coffee shop opposite to our building.
Now, nothing is left. Only ruins. Everywhere. I recognized my building from a burnt sign of a pastry shop that was once jammed with customers from all over Aleppo. It was famous for its unique Levantine baqlawah, something which my friends envied me on.
My building was one of a few still standing high, which turns it into a strategic point for the FSA’s snipers which control this part of the city.
I climbed what’s left of the stairs.
I remember when the stairs were crowded with neighbors, everyone rushing to greet the others in feasts and weddings. I saw myself playing with my bike with the other kids of the building on the stair landings, I heard one neighbor shout at us because our loud voice. Especially that old man in the first floor.
I entered our apartment, or what’s left of it.
I remembered that last day, when we left some of our loved ones behind.
That last day when we left ourselves behind.
Today, the walls trigger my memories. Pain rushes into my existence, or what is left of it.
From a never-ending war.
Photos from Google.